JWs release Bible in Bicol language
After producing the world’s first complete Bible in sign language during the pandemic, the Jehovah’s Witnesses released the Bible in Bicol language, which native speakers described as the “most modern, readable and understandable” translation yet.
Denton Hopkinson, a representative of the Philippines Branch Office of JWs, launched the digital format of the Bagong Kinaban na Traduksiyon kan Banal na Kasuratan or the New World Translation (NWT) of the Holy Scriptures in a special online meeting streamed to more than 5,000 residents in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Sorsogon.
He said the new NWT in Bicol, spoken by 5.8 million people, uses accurate, clear, simple and common words that are readily understood by Bicolanos regardless of their background.
“This is a wonderful gift. God wants to talk to us in the language of our heart,” said Michael Danas, a native Bicol speaker from Camarines Sur, after downloading his digital copy from jw.org, the official website of the JWs.
It took seven and a half years, several typhoons and the pandemic before the project was completed by two translation teams composed of unpaid volunteers, said Leynard Rodulfa, spokesperson of the JWs in the Philippines.
“Translation work, even in the languages of the minority populations, has been a key aspect of our public service,” he said.
How challenging is it to translate the Bible in Bicol?
Since the Bicol region has several dialects, the translators had to consult readers from different regions to make sure the translation is clear, accurate and natural and understood by the majority of Bicol speakers, said Rodulfa.
Terms used for farming, fishing, carpentry and others were among the words needed for feedback.
Comments from readers, however, were delayed by strong storms that struck Bicol every year, poor Internet connection and frequent power outages.
The efforts paid off on June 20 this year when Bicolanos finally downloaded their free copy of their Bible from jw.org.
The complete revised version of the NWT is now available in digital and in print in seven local languages, including Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Iloko, Pangasinan, Tagalog and Waray-Waray.
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